Networking for introverts

Time to recharge I know they are popular with coaches, but I don’t use profiling tools.  That is with one exception, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Over the years this tool has been useful to help me and my clients understand ourselves better.

Which leads me to a confession…

I don’t like networking events.

I know I’m supposed to, but the thought of walking into a room full of strangers to pitch my business fills me with dread.

You see I learned a long time ago that I’m an introvert.  

On the MBTI profile I’m actually a very strong introvert.

Many people don’t believe me when I say that.

After all I have a confidence and a presence that can often put me at the centre of a group.

I’m confident enough to facilitate groups of senior leaders in large organisations.

I’m a leader by nature, and I conquered my childhood shyness when I took a year out and travelled the world.

So how can I be an introvert?

What I love about the MBTI definition of extroversion and introversion is this distinction:

Introverts loose energy in groups.  Extroverts gain energy in groups.

It’s not about confidence or shyness.  It’s about what gives you energy and what takes away your energy.

You see I can happily be the life and soul of the party if I’m with a small group of people I know and trust.

However afterwards I will feel tired not refreshed.  My energy reserves will have been used up.

If I were an extrovert my energy bank would feel topped up.  

It’s the same when I run my retreats.  I love them, and I know I have to take time off afterwards to recharge.

To be alone.

That’s not because I’m anti social it’s just what my body needs to recoup.

This is why I struggle with networking events.  

For an introvert to be in a room full of strangers can be painful.  It requires a huge amount of energy for me to make social small talk.

As an introvert give me deep and meaningful conversations any day!

I’m not a social butterfly and these are not situations I thrive in.  I understand that about myself and these days I don’t use networking events to build my network.

I wrote recently about the importance of networking to build a thriving coaching business.  So how do I do it?

Here are ten ways as an introvert I’ve built my network over the years:

  1. Invest time to build quality relationships with people.
  2. Meet with people one on one.
  3. Use online groups – I like iCoach network for coaching, and use Linkedin Groups for business.
  4. Have regular Skype calls with people in your network from the peace of your own home.
  5. Ask people you connect with if they would like you to add them to your email list.
  6. Communicate regularly to your email list (I’m still working on this on!)
  7. Write – share your message via digital publications, magazine articles, blog posts.
  8. Go to the occasional event that you are drawn to with a friend.
  9. Run small workshops or talks.
  10. Be thoughtful about how you spend your time and with whom.  Who really nourishes you?

If you’re wondering if you’re an introvert or extrovert, spend some time reflecting on this question:

In which situations do you gain energy or loose energy?

Susan Cain wrote a book called Quiet which has lots of great tips for managing energy levels in social situations if you are an introvert.

Finally if you are an introvert give yourself some quiet space each week.  We live in a really noisy world where extroversion is often more respected than quiet reflection.

Extrovert or introvert – give yourself what you need to allow yourself to thrive.

Love Danielle x

Photo credit: “Introvert Heaven” by Richard Chambury

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2 Responses to “Networking for introverts”

  1. Bridget Hunt (@Sixpackchick)

    Oh wow!! That is so me too Danielle! I was pushed towards extrovert mode all throughout my previous career and I am fine when I am ‘performing’ but it is a mask I need to put on. I loved the book Quiet and also the work by Elaine Aron on Highly Sensitive People. Thank you for the reminder that it is ok to go on quiet time after being surrounded by people. Bridget xxx

    Reply
    • Danielle Marchant

      It’s amazing isn’t it Bridget! I spent years in full extrovert mode until I realised it was why I was so exhausted a lot of the time. Now I know myself better I am more able to create the balance I need xx

      Reply

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